Belfast
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Top attractions in Belfast

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The 10 best things to do in Belfast

Belfast's quarters brim with a bevy of cultural attractions, revealing bright and troubled years of history amid a spectrum of art and architecture. Its vibrant music scene will also keep your feet tapping into the wee hours, be it at a modern venue or pub.

Ulster Museum

This top museum's highlight is the Armada Room, which contains the wreck of Girona from 1588, along with treasures, including gold and personal items, from Spanish Armada ships.

Belfast City Hall

Belfast City Hall

This grand Baroque Revival structure is on the site of the city's former 19th-century Linen Exchange. On St Patrick's day and other dates the façade is illuminated with a variety of coloured floodlights.

Belfast Castle

Belfast Castle

Located on Cave Hill, the 3rd Marquess of Donegall commissioned the re-construction of Belfast Castle in the 19th century. Each of the first two castles in the city burned down.

St. Anne's Cathedral

St. Anne's Cathedral

Construction began in 1899 and finished in 1981. At 131 feet, the Spire of Hope was an addition in 2006. You'll find splendid mosaics and stained-glass windows inside.

Grand Opera House
Photo: William Murphy@flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Grand Opera House

The refurbished theater, which opened in 1895, hosts operas, concerts, and musicals. During the years of "the Troubles," bomb explosions damaged it in 1991 and 1993.

Botanic Gardens

Botanic Gardens

The gardens first opened as a private park in 1828 and then became public in 1895. The Palm House is its most striking feature, due to its cast iron and glass construction.

Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park

Lady Dixon dedicated the park to her late husband in 1959. There are 40,000 roses and the famed Rose Week celebration in summer. There's also a Diana, Princess of Wales garden.

Waterfront Hall

Waterfront Hall

The main auditorium can host opera and musical performances for up to 2,000 people. The copper, domed roof will ultimately turn green, matching that of City Hall's, among others.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Located in the Titanic Quarter and comprising the SSE Arena, Odyssey Pavilion and W5, it's Northern Ireland's top venue for sports, concerts, and comedy shows.

Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle

Thirty minutes from central Belfast, the Norman castle has stood on the shores of Belfast Lough for 800 years. A tour inside will take you back to medieval times.

Planning Your Belfast Visit

How many days to spend in Belfast?

A four-day tour of the city will allow you to see the sights at a leisurely pace and simply enjoy the rhythm of the city. Add a couple extra days if you plan to make day-trips to the surrounding area, such as Carrickfergus Castle or Giant's Causeway.

Getting around

It's easy to get around the heart of the city and see its top attractions on foot. There is a bus system, called Metro, which runs from 6:00AM - 11:00PM. Donegall Square is the hub of public transport. Taxis are the other option, especially if you miss the last bus.
It's 30 minutes by car to Carrickfergus. There is also rail service from Belfast Central Station, departing on the half hour, and the journey takes just as long.

Where to stay in Belfast

Stay in the city center, for example in Cathedral Quarter, a center of nightlife, restaurants, pubs, and art. Queen's Quarter also has its share of shops, cafes, and bars.

Good to know

  • Language
    English, Irish Gaelic, and Ulster Scots
  • Currency
    British Pound (£)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+00:00)
  • Country Code
    +44
  • Best time to visit
    The high season is from May to September, when temperatures are warm and fairs, markets, and carnivals are in full swing. Try to visit in May or September if you want the summertime benefits with fewer crowds.

Things to Do in Belfast

Top Attractions in Belfast

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What people are saying about Belfast

Very worthwhile......primarily as we had an excellent driver, Noel .

We had the good fortune of traveling with Noel on a bus with 15 passengers. Noel had lots of information, but importantly a wonderful sense of humor. Will definitely seek him out when we return.

Ross was our guide and Andy our driver, both were just wunderful.

We spent a wonderful day. You should wear good shoes if you want to do the different walks. And do not forget to bring a foldable raincoat ;-).

Giant's Causeway Full-Day Guided Tour from Dublin Reviewed by Manuela, 03/17/2019

Once in a lifetime opportunity to a spectacular natural wonder

Our guide was fabulous and so was our driver. Our guide was weary knowledgeable in all things Ireland especially politically. He also told stories the whole way up north while explaining the buildings and landscape. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone. It is one of Ireland’s 4 natural wonders.

Giant's Causeway Full-Day Guided Tour from Dublin Reviewed by Virginia, 03/10/2019

An incredibly personal look into the views and violence of the Trouble

An incredibly personal look into the views and violence of the Troubles. Our guides were both deeply involved in the paramilitary operations of the IRA and the UVF. They were people present and involved in some of the darkest parts of the history of this time, and they share their views with you from an unfiltered first-person perspective, and how those views changed over time from when they were deeply involved in the violence until now, when they advocate against it. At first I thought the guides must be minorly involved to be involved in a tour such as this, but it became apparent how all the people of these neighborhoods knew them, and respected them. We looked up the history of one of our guides (Noel, from the Loyalist/Protestant perspective) and discovered that he was a figure of infamy during the troubles, sentenced to multiple life sentences. There are likely no better looks into what was really in the hearts and minds of the people of these times than these guides.

Belfast: Political Conflict 3-Hour Walking Tour Reviewed by Travis, 03/10/2019

Loved the walking tour. Loved getting both side of the story.

Both guides were fantastic. Our guide through the Falls Rd had lived the history and knew the individuals who gave their lives. A very personal encounter with a remarkable man. On the Prodestant side our guide was equally good, giving us an account of what had happened in his neighbourhood. I especially liked that he did not glorify the paramilitary and was able to explain the importanct of the Peace Wall and maintaining it until everyone is ready to bring it down. An eye opening, moving, harrowing tour. An excellent experience.

Belfast: Political Conflict 3-Hour Walking Tour Reviewed by Kathleen, 03/07/2019